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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Mayawati has indicated BSP will come on board for 2019 alliance: Rahul Gandhi

Asked if he does not rule out an alliance in the 2019 elections, Rahul Gandhi said, “That is the indication we have.”

india Updated: Oct 05, 2018 22:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Taj Palace in New Delhi, India, on Friday, October 5, 2018.
Rahul Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Taj Palace in New Delhi, India, on Friday, October 5, 2018. (HT Photo)
         

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday he believed the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will tie up with his party for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections despite opting out of an alliance for the upcoming state polls.

Speaking after delivering the keynote address on the opening day of the 16th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Gandhi said the alliances in states are different from those at the national level.

“Mayawatiji has sort of indicated that. I think in the national elections, the parties will come together, particularly in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Asked if he does not rule out an alliance in the 2019 elections, Gandhi said, “That is the indication we have.”

The remarks came two days after Mayawati ruled out a tie-up with the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, accusing the Congress of being “arrogant” and “adamant” on not conceding to its demands during the seat-sharing negotiations.

She maintained both Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s intentions in having an alliance with the BSP were honest. Mayawati had accused senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh of “sabotaging” the tie-up.

Rahul Gandhi insisted the Congress was accommodating in terms of seat adjustments in the poll-bound states.

“We were pretty flexible in the states. In fact, I was more flexible than some of our state leaders. But in the midst of conversation, they decided to go their own way,” the 48-year-old Congress chief said.

The BSP had demanded 50 of Madhya Pradesh’s 230 seats and 15 of the 90 in Chhattisgarh. But the Congress was willing to concede nine in Chhattisgarh and 20-22 in Madhya Pradesh. In Rajasthan, the Congress’s state unit had opposed a tie-up with any party.

The Congress president expressed confidence that his party will win assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and also Telangana, which go to polls in the next few months.

“We are pretty confident…. I do not see the [lack of a] BSP alliance impacting us much in Madhya Pradesh. It would have been good thing to have but we will win the elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi said discussions with alliance partners is a two-stage process when asked if he stood by his statement during the Karnataka elections that he was willing to be the prime ministerial candidate if his party and the allies want that. “Stage one is to get together to defeat the BJP and stage two is once the elections are over, we will decide what happens. But we really do not know now what will happen then,” he said.

When pressed further, the Congress chief said, “If they want me yes sure I will [be the prime ministerial candidate].”

Rahul Gandhi had earlier described the issue as “divisive” and insisted that all the opposition parties should come onto one platform to oust the BJP from power in 2019.

Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for blaming the Congress for “everything that originated” in this country in the last 70 years, he said, “You can’t keep blaming us even when you are in power. If you give us that much importance, let us run the place. We will show you how to fix it.”

First Published: Oct 05, 2018 22:42 IST

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